Moist wound healing vs dry wound healing – what’s the difference?

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When you get a cut, scrape, or other wound, it is important to take care of it properly so that it heals quickly and cleanly. One of the most important factors in wound healing is the environment of the wound. A moist environment is ideal for wound healing, while a dry environment can slow down the healing process and increase the risk of infection.

What is dry wound healing?

As the name would suggest, dry wound healing is a method of wound care that allows the wound to dry out. This was once thought to be the best way of taking care of a wound. Your granny might have told you it's best to let the wound "get some air" or something similar, but it is now known that dry wound healing can slow down the healing process and increase the risk of infection. Scabs are also more common with dry wound healing.

The disadvantages of dry wound healing

The disadvantages of dry wound healing include:

  1. Slower healing time: Dry wound healing can damage new cells and make it difficult for them to grow, lead to slower healing times than moist wound healing.
  2. An increased risk of infection: A dry wound environment is more hospitable to bacteria, which can increase the risk of infection.
  3. More pain: A dry wound can be more painful than a moist wound, which can make it harder for patients to tolerate dressing changes.
  4. Increased scarring: Dry wound healing can lead to increased scarring. This is because the intensity and duration of inflammation during healing affects the amount of scarring that results.

What is moist wound healing?

Moist wound healing is a method of wound care that keeps the wound moist and protected from the elements. It has been shown that a moist environment facilitates better healing by preventing dehydration in the wound and enhancing angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels) and collagen synthesis together with an increased breakdown of dead tissue and fibrin (clotted plasma from the bleeding). This helps to create an environment that is conducive to healing by:

  • Keeping the wound clean and free of bacteria and biofilm.
  • Promoting the growth of new cells.
  • Reducing pain and inflammation.
  • Preventing the formation of scar tissue.

Moist wound healing can be done using a variety of products, such as hydrocolloids, foam, or moist gauze dressings.

At Trifectiv our wound healing protocol includes dressing the wound with layers of non-sterile woven surgical gauze that have been moistened with our Wound & Burn Care solution. This is a simple, effective, and economical way to incorporate moist wound healing, ensuring you meet all the criteria above when treating your wound.

Please note that while moisture is essential for the healing process too much moisture is also not ideal. Any discharge from the wound (exudate) should be absorbed by the wound dressing. This discharge contains protein-melting enzymes that remove healing cells and can also negatively impact the normal healthy skin around the wound, further delaying wound healing. This is called maceration. Changing the wound dressing regularly is therefore vitally important, especially in chronic wounds.

When to use moist wound healing

Moist wound healing is the preferred method of wound care for most types of wounds. It is especially beneficial for wounds that are slow to heal, infected, painful, or likely to scar.

Moist wound healing is recommended for many wound types, including diabetic foot ulcers, pressure ulcers, venous leg ulcers, burns and surgical incisions.

The benefits of moist wound healing

There are many benefits to moist wound healing. Inflammatory reactions are reduced in a moist wound environment, and this has several benefits, including:

  1. Faster healing time: Studies have shown that moist wound healing can lead to faster healing times than dry wound healing.
  2. Less pain: A moist wound is less painful than a dry wound, which can make it easier for patients to tolerate dressing changes.
  3. Improved cosmetic results: Moist wound healing can help to reduce scarring, which can improve the cosmetic appearance of the wound.

How to care for a moist wound

As always, if you are in any doubt or have any concerns about how your wound is healing then please consult your doctor. However, there are some general tips that you can follow at home:

  • Keep the wound clean and free of debris. Before dressing it for the first time clean the wound with warm water and a gentle non-medicated cleanser. We have found bubble bath and warm water with a sponge are the gentlest options.
  • Spray in and around the wound with Trifectiv Plus Wound & Burn Care. Then wet 5 layers of woven surgical gauze with the product (you will need 5 mL of product – this equates to 10 pumps of the 450 mL bottle per dressing or 50 pumps from the 100 mL bottle).
  • Secure the gauze with a breathable bandage or dressing. No waterproof dressings please.
  • Change the dressing every 24 or 48 hours. If there has been a significant amount of discharge from the wound, you can wash it gently again with warm water before re-dressing. Please don’t use saline or any other disinfectant if using Trifectiv Plus on your wound.
  • Monitor the wound for signs of infection at every dressing change, especially in a chronic wound.


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